Helen Duggan

Helen is a Pilates instructor who has been recognised for going above and beyond during lockdown to ensure her clients were well supported.

As soon as lockdown was introduced and face to face classes were no longer a possibility, Helen immediately revised her method of teaching, easing herself and clients into the new world of online classes. She constantly consulted with her clients, reviewing class times, duration and type to provide the very best experience for everyone and it was all done with a constant smile and endless encouragement.

In addition to offering live classes, Helen also recorded her sessions to ensure that any of her clients could access Pilates classes at any time that suited them. This meant that those who were suddenly working from home, home schooling, shielding or lost their usual routine could all still be involved.

One client said:

"Helen's Pilates sessions were engaging and kept me motivated during the long endless lockdown days."

Her commitment to her online offer really showed her clients that "She cares about the wellbeing of all the people involved with her classes". In addition to her classes 3-4 times per week, Helen also made the time to interact with all of her clients, she always help to celebrate birthdays and achievements with the whole class.

"The Pilates sessions are always interesting, tough with enough variations that everyone can participate. She also makes it FUN!"

Helen's efforts helped her clients to be uplifted and know that someone was thinking of them. The virtual classes allowed for social interaction, preventing feelings of loneliness during such challenging times with one client saying:

"The classes have kept me active, ensured I have stayed in contact with people and They have really helped my mental health"

Others were able to reflect upon this time and report on how Helen's selfless work enabled them to cope during lockdown.

"I take anti depressant medication and do struggle with my mental health. I can honestly say that Helen's classes have given me a real boost and kept me going during this period."

Helen not only inspired her usual clients to get through lockdown with her online Pilates sessions but she also managed to recruit some new participants...

"Prior to lockdown only my wife did Pilates but as I was able to join in on zoom and without the pressure of attending live classes and for no extra cost I found myself doing them as well, something I would never have done before, especially as my normal sport involves full contact combat with swords and the like...seems Pilates is not just for girls like I thought and I was even able to do Pilates in armour, something I think might be frowned upon in a village hall in Suffolk."

Well done to Helen for being recognised as a Lockdown Activity Hero!